The Law with Respect to Consumer Protection in Given Situations

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  • Topic: Contract, Sale of Goods Act 1979, Contractual term
  • Pages : 6 (2063 words )
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  • Published : May 15, 2013
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Prepare a short fact sheet describing the Sale of Goods Act 1979, stating how it protects customers when they enter into contracts for goods. Use examples and/or case studies to illustrate the relevant implied conditions:

* S12 - Title/Ownership
* S13 – As described
* S14 - Fit for Purpose
* S15 – Satisfactory Quality

The Sale of Goods Act 1979 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom which regulates contracts in which goods are sold and bought. The Act consolidates the Sale of Goods Act 1893 and subsequent legislation, which in turn consolidated the previous common law. The Act lays down a small number of compulsory legal rules, but these restrictions are minimal: the bulk of the Act is concerned with an array of presumptions and implied terms, which aim to reflect the commercial expectations in the most commonly agreed sales contracts. In the absence of contrary agreement these terms will govern a contract within the Act's remit. The benefits in efficiency and legal certainty have led to many jurisdictions adopting the legislation wholesale.

Title/ownership – s12
Section 12 of the Act implies a term that the seller of the goods has title to those goods i.e. he owns them and/or has the authority to sell them. Once transferred the term also pledges that the buyer will take those goods free from any encumbrances and is entitled to enjoy ‘quiet possession’ of them. Section 12 incorporates into the contract a term that the seller either has legal title to the property to be sold or that he will have title at the time when property is to pass. Two warranties are additionally implied that the buyer will enjoy quiet possession of the goods and that the goods will be free from any encumbrances (such as sellers' lien or a third party having lien over the goods). These terms are implied into contracts falling within the Act. Breach of these terms by the seller may give rise to an action for damages, and in the case of those terms which are also conditions, termination of the contract. An example of this would be Rowland v Divall [1923] where we see a car dealer resold a product that stolen and the dealer repainted it and was completely at fault.

As Described – s13
Section 13 is an assurance that the goods being sold correspond with any description of them. It applies even if the goods have been exposed to and chosen by the buyer, like in a self-service shop. Also the descriptive words must be in reference to the substance of the goods, so certain irrelevant or unimportant descriptive statements might not be included under this section. When the goods are being sold by sample it matters not that the rest of the bulk corresponds with the shown sample if the goods do not correspond with the description. An example of this would be Harlington & Leinster v Christopher Hull Fine Art [1991] where the seller sold a painting for £6,000 but was only worth £100 and was a fake. This is where the sales of goods act covered for an item as described.

S14 - Fit for Purpose
Section 14 only applies to contracts where the goods are sold in the course of a business (e.g. from a shop), otherwise the buyer is deemed to have bought the goods regardless of quality. This section inserts an implied condition that the goods are of a satisfactory quality. It does not apply however, where the seller has drawn the buyer’s attention to those defects, or where the buyer has had an opportunity to examine the goods and the defects should have been apparent.

Section 14 inserts a term into all contracts for the supply of goods in the course of a business that the goods are reasonably fit for the purpose for which they were bought. Therefore if a buyer discloses to the seller what he intends to use the goods for, or if this should be apparent to the seller for any reason, then the goods should be fit for that purpose. The skill and experience of the seller in his ability to ascertain the buyer’s purpose is also taken...
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